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The Mystery Of America’s Oldest Active Missing Persons Case

The Mystery Of America’s Oldest Active Missing Persons Case

Marvin Alvin Clark went missing in 1926

In 1926, a 69-year-old man from Oregon left his home to visit his daughter. Nearly 100 years on, his disappearance remains the oldest active missing person's case in American history.

Marvin Alvin Clark was born Marion County, Iowa, and went on to graduate from two different universities before moving to Oregon with his wife, Mary.

The pair shared four children together, and over time Clark is said to have suffered from paralysis on his right side, meaning he partially lost use of his right arm and sometimes walked with a cane.

Clark had planned to go and visit his daughter.

His disappearance came on 30 October, 1926, when Clark set off from his home in Tigard with plans to visit the hotel where his daughter, Sidney, worked.

Two days later, when his family got in touch with Sidney to ask when Clark would be returning, they learned the 69-year-old had never arrived. It also emerged Sidney had been unaware of her father's plans to visit.

A report published after his disappearance stated Clark had taken a bus bound for Portland, and a possible sighting of a man at the bus terminal in downtown Portland is considered the last reported sighting of him.

Sidney offered a $100 reward for information leading to finding her dad, and in the time following his disappearance witnesses claimed to have seen Clark at two different hotels in the area.

Almost two weeks after he left home, a family member received a 'badly jumbled' postcard claiming to be from Clark which apparently showed his mind was 'wandering'.

The case remained active over the following years until May 1986, when loggers discovered a nearly complete skeleton in the hills between Tigard and Portland.

Clark's last reported appearance was at a bus stop in Portland.
National Missing and Unidentified Persons System

The body could not be immediately identified, but was found with items including a 1919 penny, a pocket watch, leather shoes and a pair of glasses. A corroded .38 revolver and a spent shell were also found nearby.

The skeleton was estimated to belong to someone who was between 35 and 55 years of age, but Clark's granddaughter came forward to suggest it could be her grandfather. A positive identification could not be made at the time, but the case was revisited when Dr. Nici Vance of the Oregon state medical examiner’s office renewed efforts to positively identify the skeleton in 2011.

In 2018, Clark's great-great-granddaughter and her son provided DNA samples to see whether they were a match. As it turned out, however, they weren't.

As a result, Clark's disappearance still remains a mystery, and questions still remain about the skeleton found in the hills. Clark's case remains live on the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, where his 'current age' is listed as '164 years'.

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Featured Image Credit: Weird World/YouTube

Topics: True crime, US News